Declarations of War

Lucifer finally meets Michael at Fudoumine. Drama, I-3

Mere humans shouldn’t be so damned perceptive, Michael had decided, even
if they did have some funny bloodlines going for them. It was distressing how
well he fit in with the guys of Fudoumine’s tennis team, who didn’t
take shit from anyone, and the way Ann had taken to mothering him—well, Raphael
would never let him hear the end of it, so Michael had decided that there was
no way he was letting word of this get around back home.

He still didn’t see much appeal in the tennis thing itself, though.

It was a real pity that his brother had to have gone and shown up at the Fudoumine
courts, though, and spoiled an otherwise pleasant afternoon of hanging out with
the guys.

“What do you want?” Michael demanded, glaring. If there had been any
justice in the universe, Lucifer would have combusted on the spot, and Belial
would’ve gone up right along with him.

“Can’t a man want to visit his own brother?” Lucifer inquired,
and if a person squinted, and maybe was half-blind, he might have said Lucifer
was smiling pleasantly. “It’s been a while.”

“Not long enough,” Michael growled. He crossed his arms. “What
do you really want?”

But they were interrupted before Lucifer had a chance to answer. The guys had
stopped practice to look, and Tachibana was headed in their direction—and fuck,
Ann was with him. “Michael-kun, who are your guests?” she caroled,
looking Lucifer and Belial over.

Lucifer, in turn, was examining Tachibana. “This must be the one,”
he remarked to Belial, who nodded, looking speculative.

Tachibana took a position at Michael’s shoulder. “Won’t you
introduce us, Michael-kun?” he asked, voice deep and even and very, very
territorial.

Belial grinned, and Michael glared at hir. “This,” he said, reluctantly,
“is Lucifer, the Lord of Hell.” Well, there was no real use in not
acknowledging it. “My brother.”

“You never said you had a brother,” Ann said, with a grin.

“He tries to avoid the topic,” Belial said, smoothly. “You may
call one Mad Hatter.” Se looked at Tachibana. “You must be Tachibana-kun.”

“I suppose I must be.” At least Tachibana had the good sense to sound
wary. “You have the advantage of me.”

“Seiichi has told me a great deal about you,” Belial purred. “It’s
such a pity Mika-chan got to you first.”

Ann shot Michael a look, and mouthed “Mika-chan?” at him. Michael
ground his teeth. His brother was going to pay for this, if only he could figure
out how.

Then inspiration struck. “Actually,” Michael drawled, trying to match
Lucifer’s bored tones, “if you wanna get right down to it, I didn’t
get to them first.” When he was sure he had Lucifer’s attention, he
grinned. “Setsuna did.”

The effect was every bit as gratifying as Michael could have hoped, and he etched
the sight of Lucifer’s face into his memory to treasure. Of course, it did
mean that Belial stepped closer to hir master and the atmosphere turned about
ten degrees more dangerous, but then, Michael was a dangerous sort of guy himself.
“Setsuna,” Lucifer said, finally.

“Mmmmhm,” Michael agreed, savoring the moment. “Really, I’m
here as a favor to him.”

Then Tachibana’s hand dropped on his shoulder, the way he did sometimes
when Kamio started getting excitable. “I take it you know Setsuna too,”
Tachibana said, and immediately the atmosphere lightened somewhat.

Lucifer’s lips quirked. “I have found that Setsuna has a way of getting
around.”

“No kidding,” Ann agreed, and Michael blinked, wondering when she
had gotten herself part of the way between Belial and himself. “That guy
knows everybody.”

Belial laughed. “That is possibly truer than you know.” Se surveyed
the courts, where the rest of the guys had given up the pretense of practicing,
and were ambling over. “One can see how he would be happy here.”

“Yes,” Lucifer agreed, and he had gone back to smooth and untouchable.
Well, it had been fun while it had lasted, anyway. “Things seem to be well
in hand here.”

“We’re so glad you approve,” Ann said, and while she wasn’t
being ungracious about it, she definitely didn’t sound as friendly as she
had. She was pretty cool, for a girl, Michael decided.

“One will be looking forward to seeing Fudoumine at Nationals,” Belial
murmured, eyes sharp.

Michael stuck his chin out. “Don’t be in too much of a hurry,”
he warned. “We’re gonna kick your asses.”

“One looks forward to seeing you try,” Belial said, amiably. “But
one trusts you won’t destroy the stadium in a fit of rage when you lose.”

Michael hissed, but Tachibana squeezed his shoulder in warning, and Michael checked
his temper somewhat. “Fudoumine looks forward to meeting Rikkai Dai at Nationals,”
he said, calmly, and the guys had ranged themselves behind them in support. “Until
then, however, we have a great deal of work to do.”

Belial looked to be impressed in spite of hirself, and Lucifer’s laugh rumbled
low in his throat. “Our presence is keeping you from that work,” he
said. “We’ll be going.”

“And good riddance,” Michael growled.

“And goodbye to you, too, Michael,” Lucifer said, and he and Belial
vanished.

Ann let out a long breath. “That,” she said, “was interesting.”

Michael shrugged off Tachibana’s hand. “I fucking hate him,”
he complained, to no one in particular.

“Those are Rikkai’s pet demons, huh?” Kamio asked, and when
Michael looked over his shoulder at the guys, most of them were wearing thoughtful
expressions. “What did they want with us?”

Michael shrugged. “To piss me off,” he said, trying for nonchalant
and not quite making it. “Same as always. Sorry he interrupted your practice.”

“Things are certainly more interesting with you around,” Shinji observed,
and nudged Kamio. “Come play a set with me.”

Kamio looked to Tachibana, who nodded, and followed Shinji to the courts. After
a moment, the doubles pairs followed them, and began their own practice set. Tachibana
watched them go and smiled. He glanced at Michael. “We’re strong,”
he said. “We’ll definitely win.”

Michael grinned back. “Of course we will.”